To help mark the release of the Fruits and Vegetables stamps next week, here are five facts about everyone’s favorite edible plants.
1. Neither fruits nor vegetables are the nation’s largest crop. Sorry, fruit and veggie fans, but that distinction belongs to a grain: corn, the most widely produced crop in the United States. More than 90 million acres of corn are grown for feed, industrial products and food and beverage products like cereal and alcohol, according to the organization AgAmerica. Fruits represent the third-largest crop, while vegetables rank eighth.
2. Bell peppers are fruits. As WebMD notes, scientists define fruit as the part of a plant that develops from a flower and has seeds. This means bell peppers — along with tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and pumpkins — are fruits.
3. Bananas are berries … Here’s WebMD to blow your mind again. The website points out that berries are fruits that develop from a single flower and a single ovary, referring to the female part of a flower. Technically, this means grapes, kiwis and even bananas are classified as berries. Who knew?
4. … But strawberries aren’t. Because strawberries don’t develop from a single ovary, they’re technically known as “accessory fruits.” Another distinction: Berry seeds are inside the fruit, while strawberry seeds are on the outside. By the way: The University of Illinois Extension tells us that on average, there are 200 seeds in a strawberry.
5. Yes, broccoli really is good for you. The nutrients in broccoli may reduce cancer risks, help lower cholesterol and boost eye health. Why aren’t you eating some right now?